Republican Amy Praught, a former member of the Common Council, is poised to become just the second woman to win a mayoral election in the city of Johnstown.
Praught, 52, was leading Democrat Michael Rose 1,032 to 194 in unofficial results posted by the Fulton County Board of Elections Tuesday night.
Praught is a known figure in the city, having represented the 3rd Ward on the Common Council. She says she maintains a good relationship with the members of the Common Council and with city employees.
“The voters selected me because I have a clear plan and a clear initiative for bettering the city of Johnstown,” Praught said by phone on Tuesday. “I have a relationship with people who work at the city. They have a comfort level with me to where they know we can work together and get things done.”
Rose, who ran in an effort to bring an outsider perspective to city government, did not return multiple calls requesting comment Tuesday. During the campaign he said “The nepotism will end. Goodbye, done.”
In her platform, Praught emphasized financial transparency, including looking into upgrading the city’s bookkeeping software, which is especially relevant considering city officials remain locked out of the city’s current IT system because, they say, all the passwords are tied to the former treasurer, who left at the end of September.
Praught promised to end the infighting that has bogged down the city in the past. She is also focused on addressing blight in the Johnstown.
“Now it’s time for business,” Praught said. “Let’s move forward. Let’s make changes.”
Praught said she would start by attending a budget workshop scheduled for Wednesday at 6, albeit in an unofficial capacity
Fulton County Board of Elections’ Democratic Commissioner G. Jeremiah Ryan said 24 percent of registered voters in Fulton County turned out for the election, with 8,442 votes cast countywide, including 514 early votes. About 600 absentee ballots will be counted a week after the election to allow for mailing, Ryan said. He said specific totals for Johnstown would not be available until Wednesday.
The election of a known Republican candidate beating a lesser-known Democrat in a conservative-leaning city was not surprising. The city has 1,212 enrolled Democrats, 2,412 Republicans, 78 Conservatives, 19 members of the Working Family party and 1,060 voters without affiliation, according to the Fulton County Board of Elections data.
Voters said they appreciated Praught’s background and experience, which includes 18 years working as a vice president at City National Bank.
Bonnie Boyle, who runs a neurology office, said she likes Praught’s determination.
“I think she is an absolute go-getter,” Boyle said “I think if [Praught] backs you or believes in what you’re fighting for, there is nothing that will stop Amy.”
Ron Vanskiver, a retired communications professional, said he respects Praught’s intelligence.
“I like her levelheadeness. When she was on the [Common] Council, she asked the right questions without being grumpy,” he said.
Thomas Armstrong, 30, a private practice attorney, said he wanted a mayor who can take care of tangible pieces of business, such as ensuring the city’s water is functioning properly, that city repairs are completed and that money is being spent responsibly.
“I’m looking for action and concrete goals,” Armstrong said.
Praught promises voters that she’ll be that kind of mayor.
“I’m motivated to get into position and make things happen,” she said.